• Question: Is it possible that our own actions and choices change who we are and our personality? or is the only real way of change possible through other people?

    Asked by Nathan J to Ian, Chris, Bogdana, Alex on 21 Jun 2019.
    • Photo: Alex Lloyd

      Alex Lloyd answered on 21 Jun 2019:

      We can be influenced by people over long periods of time, which may change how we choose to act. However, personality is quite stable and so it may not be the case that our personality changes much at all! Instead, as we grow older we may have experiences that change how we see certain situations.

    • Photo: Chris Fullwood

      Chris Fullwood answered on 21 Jun 2019:

      Yes I think that’s very possible. There is a psychological theory called self-perception theory (Bem, 1967), which has a fair amount of supporting evidence for it, and which argues that that we in part learn about who we are from observing and reflecting on our own behaviours in various social contexts. Sometimes we might surprise ourselves with how we behave because we can’t always plan out what we’re going to do, and we can take these pieces of information and incorporate them into our self-identity.